Interview With Purple Cubed’s Marketing Director Emily Perry
Purple Cubed is an employee engagement specialist which has been going strong since 2001. Their techniques and advice provide a solution to the high staff turnover that the hospitality and retail industries struggle with.
We recently caught up with Purple Cubed’s marketing manager Emily Perry to talk about the company, how to engage employees and the role of employee benefits.
In a nutshell, what is it that Purple Cubed does?
Emily Perry: We work with aspirational service-led businesses, enabling them to attract, develop and retain great people (which they need for a strong bottom-line). We do this by helping them simplify their HR strategy and transform the people stuff by implementing cutting edge technology.
What industries does Purple Cubed work with and how do those companies benefit from Purple Cubed’s HR expertise?
Emily Perry: We started out 13 years ago focusing on the hospitality sector, making it our mission to help combat the war for talent in this sector. However, this naturally expanded into other service-led businesses such as retailers, leisure companies and logistics businesses. As we say, if we can crack hospitality, we can crack everything else!
Companies work with us because we are recognised as experts in the people stuff. They appreciate our common-sense approach to a department which often gets over-complicated and caught up in processes. In return they see real bottom-line benefits, better engaged people, sustainable growth and a great reputation as a best employer. Just have a look at some of our case studies.
Can you explain to us a little about the 'Purple Plan'?
Emily Perry: The Purple Plan is our visual of the employee journey – from the moment they Google what it is like to work for you, to when they join, develop and progress, to when they leave. It’s used by over a quarter of a million people and helps businesses join up talent management so that they are engaging their people at each stage of the employee lifecycle. The Purple Plan forms the basis of any client solutions we design – using it to get under the skin of the business, understanding what is currently being done and then together identifying key priorities.
What is your favourite thing about working for Purple Cubed?
Emily Perry: Without a doubt our culture. Everyone in the business knows what we stand for and why we do what we do. You can ask anyone of us to explain our values and we all know them by heart (how many businesses can honestly say that!) I’ve never worked anywhere where everything is done by our values – decisions, recruitment, even our marketing. These are what guides us and makes us the business we are today.
In your opinion, what are the benefits to employers of offering employee benefits?
Emily Perry: In my opinion benefits are the cherry on the top of the employment package – a way to further boost engagement points once you have got the basic people stuff right. After all, it’s unlikely to hear of someone leaving an organisation because they don’t have a cycle to work scheme. However if the culture was toxic, there was limited progression and a lack of personal development then most people would depart.
So once you get this stuff right, employee benefits can be a real value add. Picking the right offering for the demographic of your workforce can help you attract and retain great people plus have a happier, healthier and more productive workforce.
A focus with DAM’s employee benefits clients is on how to communicate them effectively. What tips would you give employers looking to communicate their benefits better?
Emily Perry: In our Talent Toolbox: Review – 2014 People Engagement Trends report where we surveyed 45,000 employees, benefits were named for the third year in a row as an area employers need to improve. We believe a lot of this boils down to communication so my tip is very simple – ask, listen and act…
Communications, regardless of the subject, must be two-way – with employees being given the opportunity to have their say and be heard. Too often employers put benefits packages in place without consultation yet expect their people to be completely engaged in the offering.
So if you’re looking to communicate better then start by asking your people for their feedback – are they getting what they need from the benefits that you offer, do they suit their lifestyle, is there anything that they don’t think is useful. Just by inviting the conversation you open up a different level of discussion; one which is more likely to be heard.
Then listen – are there any common themes, is there any hidden message – if so probe further, is there a level of misunderstanding of the benefits, are we alienating anyone. Make sure you act on what you’re being told – pick some quick wins and make them happen. Be open and honest about why some things can’t be changed and share your plan for the things which will take a little more time. In fact, get your people to deliver this project. The more they own it, the more they will listen, understand the benefits and use them.
What do you think a typical employee benefits package will look like in 5 years’ time?
Emily Perry: I don’t believe in five years’ time there will be a typical package. The generations coming into our workforce now expect flexibility and a personalised employment experience, therefore the ‘benefits’ will have to match this expectation. More likely employees will be given a sum of money with which to purchase what they like and how much they’d like from a vendor who can offer a huge range of products to suit every eventuality. The employee will also have the option to change their selection when their lifestyle or commitments require more of less of something.
If you could give just one tip to HR directors what would it be?
Emily Perry: Based on the questions at our last breakfast club which focused on digital HR I would say don’t shy away from technology – whether that’s automating performance or using social media to enhance your internal communications. Tech offers businesses a quick, cost effective tool which gets results and tangible data that demonstrates HR is not a fluffy ‘tissues and issues’ department but a commercially minded, value centre.